POLICE raided suspected drug dens to root out criminals dealing in heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis - as new figures showed recorded crime in South Yorkshire has fallen for the sixth year running.
Officers yesterday targeted homes in Shiregreen, smashing their way in to one address, and arrested three people in a bid to beat drug dealing networks in Sheffield.
Annual crime figures show the sixth consecutive drop in recorded crime since 2007.
Between April 2011 and last month, recorded crime fell two per cent - the equivalent of 1,889 crimes - with a total of 100,852 offences logged.
Violent crime, vehicle crime and criminal damage offences all dropped - but burglary and metal theft offences soared.
Last year 7,654 homes across South Yorkshire were broken into, a six per cent increase on the year before.
And other burglaries went up six per cent, with 9,095 crimes recorded.
Violent crime dropped 12 per cent - 1,969 offences - to 15,050, which included 861 robberies. And vehicle crime fell eight per cent - 1,027 offences - to 11,315, which included 2,668 thefts.
South Yorkshire’s Deputy Chief Constable, Bob Dyson, said: “These are challenging times for the police service but the figures show our ongoing commitment to tackle crime and keep people safe.
“Maintaining this performance will not be easy, but we’ll continue to use resources as effectively as possible to deliver the best possible service to people in South Yorkshire.”
The force has to save around £40 million over the next few years in response to Government funding cuts.
But Mr Dyson said bosses were committed to ‘fighting crime’ - and said the swearing-in this week of the first of 110 new recruits demonstrated that.
The police chief said the force policy of targeting ‘prolific offenders’ responsible for repeat offences was helping to reducing crime.
DCC Dyson also said neighbourhood policing was playing its part, with bobbies, PCSOs and partners addressing communities’ issues of concern.
But he said the county’s burglary rate, which has gone up from last year, was a worry and the force was ploughing resources into tackling it.
“Burglary has a huge impact on people’s lives and we’re making every effort to address the six per cent rise, with dedicated teams continuing to work tirelessly to tackle this and other serious acquisitive crimes,” he added.
“Burglary is at a 26-year low and, while there has been an increase, it is still at a relatively low level. But we understand the impact burglary has on people and that is why we put a lot of effort into it.
“In the first two-and-a-half weeks of April we have seen a reduction in burglary so there are some signs we are on the right path to getting our burglary rate back under control.”
DCC Dyson said the reduction in violent crime could be put down to efforts police are making in city and town centres to reduce alcohol-fuelled and football-related disorder.
He said despite a 24 per cent increase in metal thefts, with 4,933 offences recorded last year, he is ‘convinced’ a major operation which saw 400 officers raid 10 scrapyards this week will have sent ‘shudders’ through the scrap metal industry.
“People will find it more difficult to sell stolen metal, so I am confident we will seen the impact of the operation being felt into the future,” he added.